Archives for posts with tag: workplace

Eight weeks ago I stepped onto a plane in Moline, Illinois and 3 hours later I stepped off in Baltimore, Maryland with no return ticket home. I had earned a promotion and was now a member of the field sales organization! This Mid-western girl packed all of her belongings and was off to become a big city, East Coast dweller. In the blink of an eye 8 weeks has passed, but I have learned some valuable lessons about how to be successful in a field sales role.

LESSON ONE: Always Be OVER Prepared

Create a checklist of items to review before walking into any customer meeting. This check list should be a standard one that can be used for any visit or meeting. For example, a few items on my checklist include:

  1.  Know my customer’s sales numbers: It is important to have answers to financial questions in the event your dealership inquires. Having information and insight on your dealer’s numbers can lead to more productive and efficient conversations.
  1. Always have a training deck ready: Even if you are not visiting a customer specifically for training, you never know when a training opportunity may arise. Have a couple of training decks pre-made and saved to your computer for easy access.
  1. Set a micro goal for the visit: I have found that, when I go to a customer meeting with a micro goal in mind, I am more productive. Your micro goal should complement your visit and could be as simple as discussing a potential project with a customer or building more rapport with a certain individual.

LESSON TWO: Build Your Network

Being in the field gives you many opportunities to meet and build rapport with any number of connections. Being cognizant of this, I do two things to keep my contacts organized.

  1. Use a Business Card Binder: You can find a business card binder, in which you can keep each and every business card you receive, at just about any office supply store. I have categorized my binder by customers, end users, and vendors so when I need to reach out to someone I know where to look. I keep this binder in my car for easy access.
  1. My Network Excel document: This is a document that I update almost every day, or at least every time I meet someone new. It is a simple Excel document and has only three columns – Name, Company, and Comments. I keep it as a working document on my computer desktop so that every time I meet someone new or have a meaningful conversation with one of my customers I can update it. I simply add the individual’s name, company information and any comments that remind me of meaningful details we discussed together, whether it be how many kids they have, where they vacationed last or a project that may be 6 months out. Before I see that customer again, I pull up the Excel document and prepare myself with talking points.

LESSON THREE: Car time is Call Time

One difficult hurdle I had to get over in my new role was determining how to get the most out of my time in my car. Often times, I found myself coming home around 5pm and working until 9pm to try to catch up on all of the emails coming in to my inbox while I was driving. This is when I decided that “car time is call time”. I now use my car time to resolve any issues that can be dealt with over the phone. Instead of waiting until I get home to email customers, set up appointments or answer questions my customers have sent me via email, I simply call the customer while I’m driving. This helps me eliminate some email time when I get home and also gives me an excuse to network with my customers and build more rapport.

These three lessons that I have learned from being in the field for 8 weeks has helped to make my work days more efficient and effective. I plan to abide by these three lessons and several more that I pick up along the way to help make me a successful field sales representative.

For those of you who also work in Sales, what tips have you learned along the way?

There’s a new kid on the block, or should I say 53.5 million new kids on the block.  You probably know them as Millennials, and today they make up one third of America’s workforce.  So what constitutes the perfect job for this generation?  Below are just a few examples of what this group looks for in a workplace:

Giving Back:  Millennials are looking for opportunities to give back to their community or to a charity that they or the company hold near and dear.  What is your workplace passionate about?

Continuous Learning:  Even though every college graduate vows that they are “Done!” when they throw their cap and gown, everyone eventually comes back to wanting more.  Opportunity for personal and professional development is especially important to this generation.

Flexibility and Variety:  The mundane and repetitive are not for this crowd.  Offer them a job that challenges them. Empower them to overcome those challenges, and you will have a pool of candidates eager to impress.

Mentorship:  Finding a role model in the workplace is as important as finding a personal role model.  Millennials want someone to help guide them, without the anxiety that may come along with a critique from their supervisor.

Collaborative work environment:   Millennials want to work together and collaborate. Maybe not all the time, but they want to at least have the option and the right environment in which to do so.  Having an open and more informal workspace that can accommodate collaboration will appeal to this generation.

How do you think the shift in workforce demographics is impacting office furniture and design?

Summer is right around the corner, which marks an extra busy season for many of us within the furniture industry.  To combat the additional workload and pressure the busy season may bring, here are 8 ways to relieve stress in the office:

Summer

1. Create a “To-Do” list at the beginning of every day:  Although creating a to-do list may seem obvious, take it one step further and create your “must-dos” and your “would like to dos” so you can prioritize your list.  Then, tackle the “must-dos” right away so you can start the day feeling accomplished.

2. Check-in with yourself every hour.  Review your progress on your to-do list, re-rank any items, and re-focus your energy.  If feeling overwhelmed, take a small break at this time to prevent any stress before it starts.

3. Review and re-prioritize your “To-Do” list at the end of each day.  Before shutting down for the day, make a note of what you need to do the next day and rank accordingly.  This will help you avoid feeling like you have a “million things to do tomorrow” as you end the day.  You prioritized the “must-dos” and can now take some time to relax.

4. Take a walk around your office.  If you are starting to feel stressed, take some time to walk around the office. A little exercise helps you calm down and allows your brain to re-charge.

Calm

5. Play with a stress ball.  You can find these almost anywhere and they are a good way to take mini-breaks throughout the day.

6. Download the “Calm” App. It can help you meditate, relax, and sleep better.

7. Download the “Anti-Stress Quotes” App. Lift your mood with some inspiring words.

8. Play a mindless game on your phone.  My personal favorite right now is “Snake ‘97”, which looks like the original “Snake” that was once one of the only games available for cell phones. Be sure to find appropriate breaks in your work day for this stress reliever, though!

Snake

What are other tips or apps do you recommend to combat and relieve stress in the workplace?

Leveraging fabrics and finishes across product platforms not only makes specifying easier, but also adds to versatility. Just as you shouldn’t have to limit yourself on color options, don’t limit yourself to the same standard desk configuration – get creative! Below are 5 less common, yet practical applications for HON product in the workplace.

Voi® Credenzas as ancillary seating and media storage

Voi

Try placing Voi credenzas in a meeting area to serve as ancillary seating and additional storage space. The layered height allows people to casually join the conversation, while the cabinets hide any office and media supplies.

Purpose® as “huddle room” seating

Purpose

“Huddle Rooms” are smaller conference areas designed for teamwork and productivity. Purpose’s light scale design and intuitive adjustments provide comfort without overpowering these smaller rooms.

Flock® as café “booth” seating

Flock

Frequently used in welcoming and reception areas, it’s easy to forget how versatile Flock is. Integrate the modular armless chair into a café area to create booth-style seating as pictured above, or just a softer area to encourage conversation and  collaboration. It might be a good idea to upholster in a durable fabric like Momentum’s Silica (now standard HON Grade VIII).

Endorse task stool with Flock personal table

Endorse

Provide extra seating in a training room with the Endorse task stool and Flock personal table. This is a great area for presenters to sit before taking the front of the room, or an area for late-comers to sneak into without disrupting the entire training/meeting.

Flock ottomans as ancillary seating in a conference room

Flock

Anytime a conference room has more people than chairs, count on the meeting starting late because everyone is plucking a chair from the nearest area to drag in. Add Flock ottomans to the corner or along the wall to provide additional seating and interest to an otherwise “dead space”.

What are some other unique or nontraditional ways you use HON products?

While putting your coworker’s stapler in Jell-O seems hilarious, it’s not appropriate for every office environment. Here are some ideas for playful and harmless April Fool’s Day fun:

Put a note on the coffee maker, microwave or toaster that says “Voice Activated”. Listen to your coworkers try to make toast by talking to inanimate objects.

Have problems with a lunch thief? How about pranking them by disguising your lunch as a moldy sandwich? Of course, the sandwich isn’t moldy, but looks like it through these fun lunch bags:

They will never steal your sandwich again.

If a coworker leaves his computer unlocked and unattended, change his favorite desktop image or screensaver. This works especially well if your coworker is a Detroit Lions fan and you change his desktop to Green Bay Packers….not that I’ve done this one before.

Convince everyone in the office to call one member by the wrong name or a funny name. Your boss, Ben, will have no idea why everyone is calling him Captain America.

And the best prank of all? Nothing! If you’re a frequent prankster, sit back and watch your coworkers squirm as they try to figure out what you’ve done (even though you’ve done nothing). For extra points, smirk and say things like “how’s your coffee this morning?”

Disclaimer: have fun, but avoid pranks that are harmful to others or cause damage to another’s property, and avoid wasting a lot of time. And definitely don’t switch the coffee from decaf to regular or vice versa without warning.

What are some of your favorite office pranks?

Thank Yous

Personally, I am a huge proponent of thank you cards. Not only do they come in many different adorable patterns, themes and colors but they are also one of the most sincere ways to say thank you.  Nothing expresses gratitude better than a hand written note. Thank you cards can be used for a variety of occasions or reasons but incorporating them into your work routine can be a small but powerful way to get noticed.

A hand written thank you is possibly one of the best follow-ups to an interview. It not only shows your future boss that you are serious about the opportunity but it also demonstrates that you are both respectful and courteous. Sending a thank you card can make you stand out above other candidates you are competing against and could possibly be the deciding factor on whether you get the position over someone else.

Another great opportunity to send a thank you is when a co-worker goes above and beyond. Did someone really help you out in a bind? Did someone step up to ensure a project deadline was met? A thank you card can be an unexpected and unique way to communicate how grateful you are for their efforts.

No matter the reason, a thank you card is always appreciated. I constantly see thank you cards displayed proudly on my co-workers desks as they are kept as mementos of appreciation. When you get ready to write your next thank you, make sure you keep these helpful hints in mind:

Be timely – Ideally, a thank you should be sent or presented to the recipient within a week of the thank-provoking action. However, don’t let this discourage you if you somehow get caught up, the old saying applies ‘better late than never.’

Be specific – The perfect thank you directly acknowledges the reason for the card. Make sure you tell the recipient exactly why you are so grateful.

Be polished – To be most effective, make sure you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s by checking that your spelling and grammar are correct. A sloppy thank you can mask its true purpose and quickly be disregarded.

Be you – Any card that is aligned with your personal brand and can remind your recipient that you sent them this sweet note is a plus. It will be an everyday reminder of your graciousness.

Be prepared – Always have a variety of thank you cards at your desk. This allows you to be prepared and able to write a quick thank you when the opportunity presents itself.  Having multiple styles of thank you cards also lets you personalize your thank you for the individual recipient. This makes it feel heartfelt and not generic in nature.

So, who will you be sending your next thank you to?

You stare at your desktop at least 8 hours a day. Why not make it a work of art?

Meet my fellow teammate’s desktop:

full desktop

As you can see from her full desktop, she’s a very busy person but her desktop lacks some simple organization. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there right now whose desktops look just like this. Fear not! Below are 5 great ways to not only organize your desktop, but also give you a beautiful piece of art to look at throughout the day.

First – There are a few basic customization tools and skins you can use to get desktops just like these.

Rainmeter (PC desktop customization template)

GeekTool (Mac desktop customization template)

Organizational Wallpapers

Fences (PC-only desktop icon organizer)

1. Are you a landscape/tech lover?

tech desktop

Get this look: RainmeterSimple Media add on for clock and date

2. Are you more of a romantic?

romantic desktop

Get this look: Eiffel Tower Wallpaper, Rainmeter (use Luana 1.2 for Orange Tiles & Me for Calendar)

3. Want a desktop that’s more organized than your office?

organized desktop

Get this look: Office Wallpaper then place your icons on the virtual shelves. (If only organizing your actual office was this easy!)

4. Calvin and Hobbes fan anyone?

Calvin and Hobbes desktop

Get this look: Rainmeter, Calvin and Hobbes font, Additional Directions

5. Lastly, for the super organized desktop user.

super organized desktop

Get this look: Desktop Organizer Template

What are some tricks you use to keep your desktop organized?

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